We’re all Joe Durso, to some extent. In a strong contender for “Article of the Year”, Kenny wrote of him (and his ilk) “in the absence of mainstream acceptance, they cling to scraps of fleeting fame, seek out the company and comfort of those who recognize the significance of their accomplishments, and dream of a day when the world at large will recognize their greatness.” This is me, although I’m going to quibble over parts. I know that my accomplishments are possible only because we’re such a small and minor sport that the Div I athletes don’t bother with it, so I’m not looking for the world to acknowledge my greatness, any more than I want them to acknowledge my Div C modified fast pitch softball championship (yeah, Cougars!). But I do want the world to understand that it is an accomplishment worthy of my time and effort.
I enjoy being a minor celebrity (or, as Corey said on the podcast, “add a few more ‘minor’s in front of that”) in the world of ultimate. I appreciate being around people who feel as strongly about the game as I do. And yes, I’m a little bit afraid of the day where ultimate is not part of who I am but simply part of my past (a very special part, perhaps, but still in the past).
And as for clinging to scraps of fleeting fame, well, yes, there is that aspect, but the larger part is the thrill of the chase. You put in all the work in order to have a shot at, well, greatness. But even for those who seek the limelight, what makes for greatness is not the acknowledgment of the outside world, but the acknowledgment of your inner self that what you are doing is important to you. But the thing is that almost all of us need some confirmation of this from the outside world. It is a rare man who doesn’t care in the least what other people think, and kudos to Mr. Dobyns for having that in him and for being able to move on to other important things in life. (Check back with me five or six years after I retire; maybe things will look differently then.)
Also to the point is that “the outside world” is not the 6 billion others who inhabit the planet, but those who we come into contact with, and those close to us. Kenny’s mom would load up her wagon and drive 10 hours to feed Kenny’s teammates, even when Kenny wasn’t there. His older brother played, married a frisbee chick, and still coaches. Do you think he’d be so dismissive of the outside world if this part of the outside world did not acknowledge the importance of the game to him? My parents and my personal outside world have for the most part embraced my commitment, and that has made all the difference.
Here’s a guess that Kenny or Artie can check on sometime: when Joe Durso won his first national championship, his mom probably told him, “I guess this means you can give up that silly game.”